How Do Tumble Dryers Work

Tumble dryers might not be an essential home appliance like a cooker, fridge or washing machine but to many people, they are very close to being one. If you live in an area with a cold climate then a tumble dryer might be one of the only ways to get your clothes dried in a quick time-frame.

Tumble dryers are also valuable for the seasons when you can’t depend on the sun to dry your clothes and are essential for speeding up the drying process. Tumble dryers come in numerous forms and designs and are a popular product for home appliance manufacturers.

domestic tumble dryer

In the most simplistic terms, this is how a tumble dryer works, first of all, clothes are placed in the rotating tumbler compartment which holds the clothes. The heater inside the tumble dryer will then begin to heat up. This heat will be drawn to clothes and will heat up the water inside them, which helps speed up the drying process.

The excess moisture from the clothes drying will leave the dryer through the exhaust vent as steam. Then all you need to do is wait for the clothes to finish drying and remove it. That’s a simple lowdown on the process but let’s take a more detailed look at how tumble dryers work by examining the main components inside the appliance.

The Tumbler

The tumbler is the large compartment in the dryer which holds and spins the clothes, it’s very similar to the drum in a washing machine. Tumblers are deceptively simple in design they have a built-in flange at the back which connects to a bushing mechanism, so it can spin. Plastic padding at the front of the tumble adds some extra strength and support to it.

But let’s look at how it spins shall we? The tumble acts like a large gear and it spins thanks to an built-in motor and small pulley system. If you examine the interior or your dryer you might even be able to make out the belt which connects to the pulley system around the tumble.

Air Vents and Exhaust Ducts

Let’s look at how the heat actually enters your tumble dryer, shall we? The heating process is again quite simple when you break it down, air enters the tumble dryer through air vents at the front of the appliance.

It then comes into contact with the heating elements which as you have likely guessed work by heating up the air. The hot air then reaches the tumble and goes through the clothes because they are wet the heat will spread and heat up the water making the drying process faster. The hot air then passes through the holes around the door of the tumble dryer and hits the lint screen.

Once it’s passed the lint screen the air will make its way towards the duct where it will meet the exhaust fan. The exhaust fan will spin to help suck out air from the duct and get it out of the tumble dryer. When you look at everything the hot air does it really goes on quite the journey through the dryer doesn’t it?

Safety Features

Tumble dryers like any other household appliance have a variety of safety features built into them. Many of these are based around the risk of overheating, let’s take a look at them in more detail, shall we? First of all, we have to look at the temperature shut-off switches these switches are designed to automatically shut-off your tumble dryer if your appliance reaches a certain temperature.

The switches can be placed in different areas depending on your model of tumble dryer although one is normally always placed near the lint screen. Temperature sensors are also a common safety feature one will be placed near the tumble and will detect the air temperature that blows into it.

If the temperature is too high then the sensors will cut power to the dryer. A second sensor is usually placed near the heating elements which will act as a back-up if the airflow inside your dryer is blocked or shut off.

Other Features

We’ve already outlined how tumble dryers actually get to work drying your clothes but there are still a few other features we can talk about. Namely, the controls for your tumble dryer, more advanced machines will use an electrical control panel which will program how hot the heating elements should get.

But older tumble dryers will use a series of plates which are connected to buttons that operate them. By changing the layout of the plates more or less air can be allowed into the tumble, therefore, making the heat cycle hotter or cooler, depending on what you press.

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